MIDDLEHAM RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Sunday 3rd April 1729
Final meeting: Whit Monday 20th May 1872
It is known that a racecourse was laid out on Middleham High Moor in 1729, with Baily’s Racing Register first providing detailed results from the April 1729 meeting. James Whyte’s History of the British Turf noted that racing was taking place in Middleham in November 1739 on Middleham Moor just half a mile from the town, although he scathingly suggested the races were ‘of little interest’.  Meetings did continue intermittently for over 100 years, although the meeting of April 1837 was a poor affair with just two recorded races; racing ceased the next year and did not resume until 1858. The town could call on a number of courses, including a standard 2 mile course, a Gold Cup course extending over 3 miles, and the Crown course for 5 furlong sprints. Racing came to a final halt in the racing town on Whit Monday 20th May 1872 with a meeting on Middleham Low Moor. The event was graced by a large concourse of spectators, embracing many of the influential of the neighbour, and they witnessed Worthless winning the opening Neville Stakes for Mr Ridley. The Feature Castle Handicap over 6 furlongs went to the 5 year old Ida owned by Mr Farmer.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Duke of Bolton, Lord Belhaven, Sir W Gerard, Sir H Williamson, Lord Sligo, Lord D'Arcy, Sir J H Maxwell, Sir R Milbank

Principal Races Middleham Gold Cup, Middleham Hurdle, Craven Stakes, Bolton Stakes, The Dinner Stakes

Sunday 3rd April 1729

Middleham 51 Guineas Plate for 5 Year Olds
1. Unnamed bay mare owned by Lord D’Arcy
2. Polly Peachum owned by Sir R Milbank
3. Barebones owned by Mr Hutton
4. Moorhen owned by The Duke of Bolton

30th March 1762 to 1st April 1762

Middleham 4 mile Plate
1. Schemer owned by Mr J S Barry
2. Strip’em owned by Mr Turner
3. Bellair owned by Mr Thornburgh

Middleham 3 mile Stakes
1. Spinner owned by Mr J S Barry
2. Blossom owned by Mr Scroop
3. Freeholder owned by Mr Stanhope
Spinner won both heats and therefore claimed the stakes.

Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th April 1824

Middleham Craven Stakes over a mile and a half
1. Caccia Piatti owned by Mr Riddell
2. North Star owned by Mr Ferguson
3. Unnamed colt by Grey Middleham owned by Mr Ferguson

Bolton Stakes over a mile and a half
1. Mustachio owned by Mr Riddell
2. Ringlet owned by Mr Jaques

Sweepstake for 20 Guineas over a mile and a half
1. Crow-Catcher owned by Mr J smith
2. Unnamed filly by Ardrossan owned by Mr Gascoigne
3. Sir John owned by Lord Sligo

The meeting of April 1837 was a poor affair with just two recorded races.

Wednesday 5th April 1837

The Dinner Stakes over 2 miles
1. The Sylph owned by Mr Allen
2. Negro owned by Mr C Topham

Middleham Hurdle over 2 miles
1. Negro owned by Mr C Topham
2. Unnamed horse owned by Mr J T Wray
3. The Girl of Kilkenny owned by Mr Allen

Middleham plays a significant part in horse racing today. The photos below show the training stables of James Bethell together with some of his yearlings. For further details on this highly successful training establishment visit http://jamesbethell.co.uk/

Middleham continues to play a significant part in horse racing today via Karl Burke. The photo below shows the very successful trainer inspecting his stable stars. For further details on this highly successful training establishment visit www.karlburke.co.uk

The final meeting took place on Whit Monday 20th May 1872.
Course today On a variety of courses on Middleham High Moor, just half a mile from the town centre.
If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email johnwslusar@gmail.com

Much of the information about this course has been found using internet research and is in the public domain. However, useful research sources have been:-

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

The Sporting Magazine

A Long Time Gone by Chris Pitt first published in 1996 ISBN 0 900599 89 8

Racing Calendars which were first published in 1727

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing johnwslusar@gmail.com stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
ORDER FORM
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Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 3 Wales & Scotland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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